John Adams, Minna
After spending five days at the old Minna correctional center, the embattled Chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC) Niger State, Mallam Jibrin Imam and the party Treasurer, Alhaji Shafi Abdulsalami have been granted bail by Minna Chief Magistrate Court on Monday.
The Chief Magistrate Nasir Muazu granted the two APC Chieftains bail in the sum of N5m each and one surety in like sum.
Ruling on the oral application for bail by their counsel Isah Sulaiman at the last sitting of the court last week Thursday, the Chief Magistrate said the sureties should also be resident within the jurisdiction of the court.
The accused persons were however not present in court when the Magistrate ruled on their bail.
When the case was first mentioned on Thursday Muazu directed that the APC chairman and Treasurer should be remanded in the Minna Correctional Centre till Friday last when ruling on the bail application will be made.
The court however did not sit on Friday and the two accuse persons were kept at the correctional center till today, Monday.
Imam and Abdulsalam as well as two others now said to be at large were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Nasiru Muazu on a three count charge of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation all contrary to sections, 97, 312, and 309 of the penal code law.
Police prosecution ASP Ahmed Saidu had told the court that Imam and Shaffi along with the two others still at large connived to misappropriate nearly N800million belonging to the All Progressive Congress (APC), Niger state chapter.
According to Saidu, the monies were withdrawn from two new generation banks operated by the party in Minna between 1st June, 2014 and 1st June, 2020.
The prosecution also claimed that the accused persons “also misappropriated other funds of the All Progressive Congress, Niger state that were made willfully, and you all dishonestly converted to your personal uses the said monies”.
Alleging that the said monies were withdrawn by the accused persons without memo and have remained unaccounted for the prosecution also submitted that the welfare officer of the party, Alhaji Muka Fasasi confessed to have collected N4.8million from members of the state house assembly which the accused persons allegedly shared.
The prosecution therefore told the court that because of the seriousness of the case against the accused persons, in addition to the fact that two of the accused are still at large he was opposing their bail.
He also said that he opposed the bail to enable the police “carry out proper investigation” insisting also that “proper investigation will not be carried out if they are released on bail because they have been frustrating the investigation”.
Citing section 341 paragraph 2 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Saidu said the offenses allegedly committed “attract heavy punishment of not less than seven years imprisonment so it is not ordinarily billable”.
However, counsel to the accused persons, Isah Suleiman urged the court to allow bail for his clients, saying that the law provides that bail should be given for all manners of offences “except for capital offences, this not a capital offense”.
In addition, Suleiman said one of the accused persons has medical challenge including being diabetic, physically challenged and high blood pressure which has been making him to frequent hospital.
The counsel further submitted that the accused persons have been on police bail and have never jumped bail, submitting that “if the police grant bail it is wrong for the police to come back to ask the court to refuse bail to an accused person”.